Reusable PPE Gown Helps Solve Supply Chain and Medical Waste Problems
Isolation gown can be laundered 100 times, protecting hospital workers and the environment
At the beginning of the pandemic personal protective equipment (PPE) was hard to come by in many health care facilities, including the gowns worn when treating infectious disease patients and cleaning their rooms. A Virginia health system ensured an adequate supply of this PPE item by creating a reusable gown.
Inova Health Systems shared the safety and environmental benefits of the gown today, the first day of the Annual Conference for the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC).
Before 2020, the five-hospital system in the Washington, D.C. suburbs used 3.1 million single-use disposable gowns every year, amounting to about 213 tons of waste and contributing to the medical waste dilemma. When supply chain disruptions made it difficult to obtain the gowns, Inova decided to come up with a more sustainable option.
The health center contracted with a sports apparel manufacturer to produce a new isolation gown that is better fitting, cooler to wear, easier to don and doff, and can be laundered and reused up to 100 times. Two of the system’s five hospitals currently use the gowns.
“The process involved a lot of trial and error, but it was so worth the effort,” said Lucy He, director of infection prevention and control at Inova. “The innovative thinking of our team resulted in the development of a great product and our team members are very happy with the new gowns.”